Our Insight and Information Lead, Steve Clarke, will have been working at the hospice for five years in September. During his time here his role has been constantly evolving, so I interviewed him to find out what this ‘mysterious’ role involves, especially in the new age of data protection, and why it is so important to the hospice.

How would you break your job down to someone who is a complete Information Governance (IG) novice?

Firstly, as the IG lead for the hospice, I work closely with the Clinical Director and Medical Director to help ensure that we have correct measures in place to treat people’s data appropriately. At the hospice we handle a wide variety of data relating to a range of different people and we must ensure that we are being lawful and transparent in relation to the collection, processing and sharing of any of their personal data.

As well as this, I help to configure, upgrade and test new versions of our patient database, Crosscare, which is used by over 200 members of staff. We recently added a new section on Infection Prevention, which is important in the current climate. Our clinical staff also need to access other healthcare systems to see all relevant information about their patients, so I liaise with NHS teams to arrange accounts for them.

I get involved with some training too and obviously there are quite a few meetings to attend!

How does GDPR come in to your role?

The General Data Protection Regulations came out in May 2018 along with the updated Data Protection Act. It is very important that the hospice complies with these regulations as there can be significant penalties imposed for breaches, but I am pleased to say that last year’s external audit found the hospice to be broadly compliant.

As a hospice we depend on the generous support and donations from individuals and we deal with sensitive and confidential patient data too. Having shared their information with us we, in turn, keep this safe and secure and only use it for the correct purposes. We keep people informed about this via our privacy notices and evidence what we do so that we can be transparent about all forms of data processing.

What is the most interesting part of your role?

I think it’s actually the variety of tasks – I can be working with clinicians to design new care plan functionality on Crosscare; the next day I might be analysing data and creating graphs and charts. More recently I’ve been involved with training, which even included making a film down on the Inpatient Unit. There are so many initiatives progressing.

Did you have any experiences with the hospice prior to your role/what brought you here?

Not really – I’d previously spent eight years in further education and then 17 years in the NHS. Remaining in my NHS role would have required working further away so I was lucky to find this role in my home town, with less travelling to do. Having a good work/life balance is really important!

Has being at the hospice taught you anything or changed your perceptions in any way?

It has brought me to understand that we are all very different people and contribute collectively in different ways. Communication and appreciating the point of view of others has really helped me to tease out from people what they need so that I can create something for them that enables them to do their job better, or makes it easier for them while they provide best care and treat patients efficiently – which ultimately is what we are aiming for.

What do you like the most about working for St Wilfrid’s?

I think the staff and volunteers play a huge part, they care and are very dedicated. Collectively we achieve a massive amount each year but we have fun too! A good sense of humour goes a long way. Obviously it’s a lovely building to work in as well so I’m really very lucky to have found this role.

How we use the data you provide us is important. We've outlined how, where and when we'll access your data and the ways we keep it secure, which you can access here.